SEC Football: What to make of the conference’s rough start to 2023

The Florida State Seminoles defeated the LSU Tigers 45-24 at Camping World Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023.
The Florida State Seminoles defeated the LSU Tigers 45-24 at Camping World Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. /

SEC Football is off to a shaky start this season, and we’re unsure what to make of such. Are the conference’s days of dominance over, or is this a paradox?

The yokel SEC Football haters are tumbling through social media with claims that the power conference’s days of dominance are over. As one random San Francisco 49ers fan stated on the Death Valley Voice Facebook page:

“Alabama [is] not scary anymore [and] no one has ever been afraid of LSU except that 2019 team…”

Our new ‘Facebook friend’ Jarris is extremely off-target with his take. Indeed, Alabama is no longer miles better than the rest of college football. Still, is anyone willing to bet that they’re not back to sniffing a top-four ranking by the time the Tigers roll into Tuscaloosa? Perhaps more comical is the idea that teams aren’t afraid to play LSU Football.

Jarris is misguided by the SEC’s unusually dreadful start to 2023.

Heading into Week 3, SEC Football is 1-4 against Top 25 opponents and 3-6 against Power Five teams. Such includes LSU’s loss to Florida State to kick off the 2023 season and the Crimson Tide’s loss to Texas last Saturday. Moreover, all six of the SEC’s losses to Power Five opponents were by double digits.

So what gives? Why is SEC Football struggling against the better competition to start the season?

Non-SEC Power Five football is (finally) more competent than usual

It was only a matter of time before NIL benefits and the transfer portal forced roster parity onto college football. We’re still seeing Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, and Michigan top recruiting class rankings, but programs like Maryland, Missouri, and Texas Tech are landing five-star high school players. As such, the top SEC programs are simply losing their ability to impose their will on Power Five opponents.

The narrative of the current situation is also essential. We know that college football fans and media external to the SEC seek every opportunity to claim that the paradigm is shifting. The conference’s horrendous start is making that task simple. However, there’s an argument that the narrative is backward.

We’re looking at the college football though the first two weeks and thinking that it’s about time some of the non-SEC Power Five programs started showing up.

Welcome back to relevancy, Florida State, Miami, and Texas. For now, at least.

The season’s sample size is small and flawed

Alabama losing to Texas and LSU getting crushed by Florida State are the only jaw-dropping losses the SEC currently owns. Conversely, Texas is loaded with talent, including a former No. 1 overall high school recruit in Quinn Ewers. Meanwhile, the Tigers’ excuse is that were playing their 15th game under Brian Kelly and against a Seminoles team with three years under Mike Norvell.

Perhaps the Texas and Florida State wins should not have come as such a surprise.

Regardless, the rest of the SEC’s losses to Power Five opponents aren’t that shocking. Consider the 3-6 metrics includes Vanderbilt’s loss to Wake Forest and South Carolina’s loss to North Carolina. Also, is anyone surprised that Florida dropped their opener to Utah? We’re not sure Billy Napier survives the season as Gators head coach.

We’re also not shocked that Texas A&M can’t meet their expectations with Jimbo in charge.

The timing of SEC Football’s losses is unusual

It’s not unusual for SEC teams to lose games to Top 25 and unranked Power Five opponents, as such occurs every season. However, it is unusual that six losses have occurred in the first two weeks of the new college football season.

Nevertheless, we believe the SEC’s record vs. Power Five opponents will flip as the season progresses. Call us overconfident, but the SEC remains more talented and set up for success than the rest of college football. By mid-season, the 3-6 start memories will be forgotten, and the SEC Football-hating fans and media will be searching for their next angle.

By the end of the 2023 season, the SEC’s record against Power Five teams will be no worse than the typical 15-17 wins and 8-10 losses. Then, all this ‘the SEC is overrated’ talk will head back to hibernation for another offseason.

Next. LSU vs. Miss State game info. dark

After all, you didn’t think 8 teams from the Pac-12 were going to finish ranked in the AP Top 25, did you?